Jacobsen, Rebecca, Frankenberg, Erica, & Lenhoff, Sarah Winchell
Diverse Schools in a Democratic Society: New Ways of Understanding How School Demographics Affect Civic and Political Learning
Michigan State University; Pennsylvania State University
This paper considers whether a new framework for conceptualizing school racial composition, including the number and identity of specific racial groups and the stability of those groups, can determine more precisely the ways in which school diversity impacts students’ citizenship learning.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 49. No. 5 pp.812-843
- Students enrolled in diverse schools did not report having more civic learning opportunities or stronger civic attitudes than students in segregated non-White schools.
- A simple categorization of diversity (either diverse or not) revealed no significant differences between students’ political and civic learning opportunities and attitudes. But when the authors include data about the different types of racial groups present in these schools the data tell a different story.
- Across all three outcomes, students in Black/White/Latino schools were significantly less likely than students in four-group schools to report positive citizenship, even after controlling for individual and school characteristics.
- Students in Black/Latino/Asian schools were significantly more likely to report that their teachers encouraged civic behavior than students in four-group schools.
- Although students in Latino/White schools did not have significantly different attitudes about civic responsibility than students in four-group schools, they were less likely to report positive civic learning opportunities for knowledge and skills and less likely to report that their teachers encouraged citizenship activities.
- Students in White/Latino/Asian schools were more likely to report that they believed it was their own and others’ responsibility to be concerned about political and civic issues than the four-group reference group.
- Students in segregated Black and in segregated Latino schools were less likely to report learning opportunities for civic knowledge and skills than students in four-group schools.
- Students in schools with four racial group are more likely to report civic learning opportunities and positive civic attitudes than students in schools with fewer than four groups.
- Students in all other schools were less likely to report civic learning opportunities or positive civic attitudes than students in stably diverse schools none of the school context variables reach statistical significance.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Diversity, High School, Race, Social Capital, Social Studies, Urban Schools
Secondary Data, Survey
Method of Analysis:
9th 10th and 11th grade students in Chicago public schools
Unit of Analysis:
- Data is from the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR). The final sample consists of 45044 students in 93 high schools in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
- Opportunities in School to develop civil and political knowledge and skills, Development of students civic and political attitudes, Pedagogical techniques used to engage students in civic and political learning opportunities
- Female, Free reduced priced lunch, 11th grade, Race, not born in the USA, Parents discuss politics, Neighborhood factors, percent Free or reduced lunch in school, racial composition of school (Black/Latino School, Latino/White School, Black/White/Latino School, Black/ Latino, Asian school)
- Stably diverse: (School was 10.1% to 89.9% White in 2005 and within 65 percentage points change in percentage White over time period (over at least 5 years and up to a decade)
- Unstably diverse, (increasing White: School was 10.1% to 89.9% White in 2005 and had an increase in White population of more than 5 percentage points over time period.
- Unstably diverse, decreasing White: School was 10.1% to 89.9% White in 2005 and had a decrease in White population of more than 5 percentage points over time period.
- Note: Although they utilized OLS methods, authors report having tested the need to utilize multilevel models given the nested structure of the data and found no necessity of doing so.